- 1 - Fat Man on a Little Bus
- 2 - Keeping Las Vegas Safe From Litterers and Al Qaeda
- 3 - Why was Pedro in Beijing and Why Was He Naked?
I haven’t added to my annoying people series in a while, so I think it’s time I introduced a person who could be a whole series on their own: the annoying hostel roommate. I’m sure I’ll be writing many more posts in the future about people with whom I’ve been stuck in dorm rooms over the years, but I’m going to begin with one of my favorites: Pedro.
First off, let me state that Pedro is not this guy’s real name. I’m not trying to protect his identity or anything quite so noble—in fact, anyone as annoying as Pedro deserves to have that annoyingness pointed out to the world (or, in this case, ten readers). I’m calling him Pedro simply because I don’t know his real name and never did. No one did. At some point, someone just started calling him Pedro because he kind of looked like one (and they had recently watched Napoleon Dynamite), so it stuck.
I encountered Pedro at Leo Hostel in Beijing. When I first entered my dorm room, Pedro was lying on his bed in a VERY skimpy pair of skin-tight briefs. He was on his side, his head propped up on an elbow, his gaze fixated on his laptop screen. The laptop speakers were emitting a constant stream of sobbing and shrieking; I later learned those are the sounds of a Peruvian soap opera. Apparently, those are the ONLY sounds of a Peruvian soap opera.
I gave my new roommate a quick hello, but was completely ignored. Over the next few days, every single time I or anyone else set foot in our dorm room, Pedro was in the same position, watching what sounded like the exact same scene (granted, he did switch sides occasionally). So far, his behavior wasn’t necessarily all that bad, but unfortunately, it didn’t change at night. He continued to watch his soap opera at pretty much the same volume until the early hours of the morning. I guess he didn’t quite understand the human sleep cycle.
Luckily, Leo is a party hostel, so most of us never went to bed without copious amounts of Tsingdao beer and baijiu (a Chinese paint thinner sold as liquor to people too cheap to buy vodka) in our stomachs, making it possible to fall asleep even while listening to people scream and cry in overly dramatic Spanish. We did have one or two roommates who chose not to drink and tried going to bed early, but ironically, those of us who stayed up most of the night partying actually ended up getting more sleep.
After a day or two, just as we’d all grown accustomed to Pedro and his horrible soaps, everything changed. I unlocked the dorm room door and stepped inside as usual, expecting to see our hairy friend in his little underwear and hoping to learn if shrieking and sobbing Consuela finally had her baby, but no such luck. The laptop was gone and Pedro’s bed was empty. For the first time ever, Pedro was actually standing next to his bed and he wasn’t just standing around like most of us losers, he was in a full-on hero’s pose, with his hands on his hips like a ship’s captain gazing out at the distant horizon.
As for the tight, white underwear…well, they were nowhere to be seen. And they had not been replaced. That’s right, Pedro had finally realized he was overdressed for the Beijing heat and had decided to rectify that. I can’t say why he was standing—no, posing—naked in the middle of the room and can say even less why he did not even flinch when I opened the door and walked in.
My best guess is that he had just taken a shower, but did not have a towel and had decided to let the breeze do the towel’s work. I walked toward my bed but realized before I got there that I no longer had any idea what I had come into the room for, so I did a quick about-face and left. Pedro didn’t budge.
The next time I entered the room a few hours later, I made sure to have other people with me—there was no way I was going back in without backup. Or witnesses. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone that Pedro was right back on his bed in his tiny little underwear. In fact, apart from the one naked posing incident, no one ever saw him out of the bed or in any clothes besides the briefs.
All of this raises an interesting question (ok, it raises hundreds, but let’s focus on this one): why the hell was he in Beijing? He didn’t go anywhere or do anything. I’ll admit, the heat and humidity was almost unbearable and the construction dust and smog probably took ten years off all our lives (this was about a month before the Beijing Olympics, so there was a LOT of construction), but staying in your hostel bed isn’t the best solution. Not being in Beijing would work a lot better, for one.
I suppose it’s possible he was actually out sightseeing and taking pictures most of the day and he just coincidentally happened to always be in bed and in his underwear whenever I or anyone else walked in the room……but I doubt it. So why was he there? What was he doing? I’m actually asking here…any ideas? I would love to know, because I kind of need a conclusion to this post and so far, I’ve got nothing. For all I know, Pedro’s still there in the same bed watching the same show—but hopefully not in the same underwear.